Sunday, November 15, 2009

Green Drinks and Whitney Houston

As part of Seoul's humanitarian organization, Green Drinks, this Saturday an Dukwon Gallery hosted Korea's first screening of the environmental docu-animation The Age of Stupid. The small space was crowded with hipster ex-pats who were invited to browse the gallery's repurposed wares, made from raw material provided by a chain of thrift stores throughout Korea (similar to Oxfam). This was my first visit to Insadong, a very old and traditional neighborhood (even the Starbucks menu is Korean-only) filled with art houses and vendors selling all manner of cool things. We ate in a beautiful Korean restaurant where one of my friends gave us a lesson in Hangul number systems. I can't wait to return to Insadong during daylight for the full market and vending experience.

Next, my group and I headed to a futuristic white-washed bar called O.I. in Hongdae, where patrons remove their shoes and tiptoe along a plaster-of-paris network of water-filled trenches
to a circular private "room" consisting of floor pillows, a tree trunk table, and gold fiber fringe "walls". Apparently this place hosts a swimming party on New Year's Eve, which sounds promising. After a month of intermittently being served questionable round, neon snacks, I finally gave them a try at O.I...they tasted like Cheet-ohs cheese balls crossed with Crunchberries. After that, we headed to Mansion: formerly a museum and now a gorgeous and sprawling nightclub. It's filled with giant chandeliers, black leather circle booths, and thumping techno, which I've discovered CAN be salsa-danced to. There were 5 (count 'em) Arkansans at this point, an ever-expanding group that has dubbed itself the Arkansas Mafia, or AR in the KR. By then, my friend and I were faced with a dilemma: the subway shuts down from midnight until 5:30 AM on the weekend, so we either had to take an expensive cab ride back to Ilsan or tough it out until the trains started up again. Eckhart Tolle-style, we opted for the latter. Seoul never sleeps, so finding a way to pass the time was hardly a problem. We sweet-talked our friends into accompanying us to a noribang (karaoke room) and sang our little hearts out until the morning light. We then groggily detrained at dawn and with utmost restraint bypassed a 7 AM bulgogi burger at the all too conveniently placed McDonald's. Winter has set in and the brisk walk to my apartment confirmed my plans to evacuate to warmer climes this Christmas. So far Korean women have stalwartly abided their miniskirt urban uniforms and bets have been hedged regarding through just how few degrees Celsius this can last.


  1. OMG that sounds like so much fun. Do you work? I kid.

  2. Are you taking pictures of all this!?

  3. I'll get better about the picture-taking...I put a few up on Facebook and Evan takes a lot:

    Rachel, my weekdays are considerably tamer (most of the time).

  4. There was so much going on that night that it appears I forgot to comment on more than half of it, AND I WAS TAKING NOTES. This is a great post. "Hipster ex-pats": it's funny cause it's true. It should get warmer every day this week, so miniskirts aren't going anywhere if they haven't already. And remember, the O.I. dress code at the swimming party is bikinis only!